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The Christmas woman cometh |


The Christmas woman cometh

LIFE AND STYLE - Millet M. Mananquil - The Philippine Star
The Christmas woman cometh
Isa Garcia-Sicam is the creative woman behind Designer Blooms, a Christmas village concept started by her parents Ting and Rica Garcia in the garage of their home in Vancouver, where she and her sister Marie grew up.
Photos by Millet Mananquil

During a European tour years ago, I felt I time-traveled to the Middle Ages when we visited the unique town of Rothenburg in Germany.

It seemed Christmas all year round in this town of Christmas markets, a Christmas museum, and a doll and toy museum. I can never forget the huge assortment of Christmas trees and ornaments that I saw. Likewise the castles, the horse-driven carriages on cobblestoned streets, and even the McDonald’s resto with its medieval decor at the facade and painted murals of old Europe inside. No wonder Rothenburg has been a favored setting for movies like Pinocchio and Harry Potter.

So I was delighted to find another person, Isa Garcia-Sicam, sharing the same memories of Rothenburg, and in a most apt setting — a Christmas village — in Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall, where her Designer Blooms has a huge, festive space on the first floor.

“It’s beautiful!” Christmas girl Isa exclaims about Rothenburg, saying she got a lot of inspiration from this very Christmasy town.

Her Designer Blooms does remind me of Rothenburg, with the huge assortment of Christmas trees, and decor ranging from tree hangings, angels, wreaths, garlands and runners, to table settings, wares, puppets, poinsettias and eucalyptus. The only thing missing is Santa Claus.

“Santa is coming here tomorrow — and regularly — to talk to children, have photo-ops with them, and receive their letters,” Isa explains.

Designer Blooms not only sells Christmas decor, it also conducts free workshops on table settings and decorating Christmas trees. In fact, it offers free consultations and home service for mounting Christmas trees and decorations at home.

Isa says the trend now is to mix faux decor with real ones like eucalyptus leaves, which give off a Christmasy scent. She also offers a pine tree oil scent for the faux trees. “Some 15 to 20 years ago, fresh pine trees were easy to get in Baguio.”  But because reckless deforestation has denuded Baguio’s forests, “we go now for more sustainable options.” Faux trees are most practical because of easy storage, and they’re more economical.

Beyond Christmas, Isa says she also offers fresh flowers all year round for delivery through e-commerce. People, of course, still prefer fresh flowers for Valentine’s, birthdays and special occasions. And for table centerpieces during dinners.

Most Christmas trees have the usual western theme, but with the current consciousness for things proudly Filipino, people are now looking at local crafts. “Last year, we did an all-Filipino decor for the Eon Building of Caroline Tanchay at BGC, using Philippine-made materials.”

Designer Blooms began as a backyard family business 30 years ago in Vancouver, Canada, where Isa grew up. “My parents (Ting and Rica Garcia) started the business from our garage. With the mall expansion in the ’90s, we, together with my sister Marie, were able to build as many as 30 stores.” Later, they fine-tuned the business to Designer Blooms shops now in Rustan’s BGC, Ayala Town Center, UP Town Center and SM Calamba, and supplying S&R.

Designer Blooms now also services institutions like hotels, malls and offices, where it sets up animatronics or moving decorations. This year, it is doing 45 Christmas trees for nine premium malls of Robinsons. And the Christmas tree and decor for Shangri-La at the Fort.

Isa’s Christmas wish? “We hope to cover more of Canada and the US. We are proud to be a Filipino brand aiming for offshore success.”

So there. We are now moving on from the pandemic. A time for healing and rejoicing anew. Christmas is coming.

In Shakespearean medievalspeak: Cometh the hour. Cometh the Christmas woman.

Elves and snowmen bring cheer to our Christmas trees.

* * *

Designer Blooms will be at Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall until November 30. Contact +63 2 8743-3607 or SMS/Viber +63 917 712-4430; IG @designerblooms. FB Designer Blooms. Visit www.designerblooms.comp .

Follow the author on Instagram and Facebook @milletmartinezmananquil. Email her at and

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